Obviously, there's not much of a story to tell when you have a scheduled c-section. You know what's going to happen and when. So this is admittedly a pretty boring story to everyone but me. But for my sake and Carys's sake in 10 years when she asks, I'll write it down. And she'll be mortified by naked baby pictures of her and half naked pictures of me, but that's part of life, I think. What's life without being mortified by your parents regularly?
The surgery was scheduled for 8:45am on Thursday, July 7 (7/7!). The night before and that morning I had to shower with special anti-bacterial soap. That is probably the least interesting detail ever. I don't know why I included it. On the plus side, the story can only go up from there!
We left the house around 7:00 am after I took a few minutes to blow-dry and straighten my hair. Chris thought that was insane, but I knew it was going to look like shit shortly, so I wanted it to start as good as possible. Ok, it was probably still insane. Even this close to delivery, I still hadn't even come close to realizing what a big day it was going to be. It hadn't hit yet that I'd be meeting our baby in a few hours.
I checked in and was led to the recovery room, where I changed into a hospital gown and started getting IVs and filling out paperwork. I gave Chris the camera and told him to shoot away - this was going to be the only time Carys was born and we could always delete pictures. Technically only one person was allowed in the prep/recovery room, but they looked the other way while my mom and dad came in to see me before I went in. They outfitted me in the lovely white compression socks, which I had to wear the entire hospital stay. The nurse who tried to give me an IV blew veins on both arms and told me I had nervous veins...and she got blood everywhere. I hadn't even realized how much blood she drew until she started mopping up afterward. Yes, getting an IV caused so much blood that she had to MOP IT UP. Thank god my policy is to not look during IV insertion. Right before it was time to start the surgery, Chris got into his scrubs. Then it was go time - and for some reason I found it funny that I had to walk to the surgery suite rolling my IV along. In retrospect I have no idea why.
When we arrived in the surgery suite, I got the spinal. Unlike last time, the anesthesiologist was wonderful. I told him about getting sick both with the epidural from Caleb and from the general from the TAC surgery, and he made sure to address it (I can't remember exactly, but I think it was Zofran before the surgery and no morphine afterward?). Our hospital policy allowed Chris to be by my side the entire time and he didn't have to leave at any point, which really helped keep me calm. At this point, I was still pretty relaxed and not nervous at all...and I still hadn't really come to terms with what was about to happen.
I hadn't realized that raising the curtain between you and the show was the last thing they do...so not only was I was naked from the waist down in a room full of people, it really FELT like it. At least if the curtain had been there, I could have been in denial. Chris took pictures and I'm going to link to one of them, but warning it WOULD be graphic if my giant belly wasn't in the way. Actually, screw it, I'll just post it. It's that funny to me that I'll risk offending the majority of the reading public.
Have you ever watched Family Guy? You know how you never see Peter's, um, nakedness when he's naked because of the belly overhang?
LAST WARNING TO SKIP THIS PICTURE IF YOU'RE EASILY OFFENDED.
Compare that to this:
Apt comparison, right??? At least my boobs were covered. I wish I had a dolphin though. :(
They finished prepping me and finally put the curtain up. And covered the light handles with purple condoms.
Chris was fascinated by the purple condoms. We have lots of pictures of them.
Chris and the anesthesiologist were by my head the whole time. Chris ducked under the blue divider next to me to make triple sure that he wouldn't see anything. The anesthesiologist gave me a play by play (not graphically) of what was going on and joked with Chris the whole time. The play-by-play was a compromise: I wanted to know everything, Chris wanted to pretend that nothing was happening and fairies would deliver her magically. At one point the doctor laughed and said, "I take it you didn't feel that?" They'd pinched me hard and I hadn't felt a thing. I've always heard you feel a lot of pressure and tugging, but I didn't - or I was concentrating so much on Chris and the anesthesiologist that I missed it. I also didn't really hear anything and I'm not sure how. The only unpleasant thing I sensed was the burning skin smell when they were cutting. Chris heard a gush when they broke my water, but I missed that completely. I did, however, hear the most amazing sound in the world what seemed like minutes after they started: a baby crying. For some reason it hadn't hit me that I'd be hearing that sound at some point in this process, and the second I did: boom, tears.
(These aren't as graphic as they seem at first glance, I promise! No blood or guts. Just baby legs.) Obviously I couldn't see any of this, and Chris didn't look either - he just held the camera above the curtain and shot blindly.
Seconds later, the doctor brought her to us. Slimy naked baby picture warning! Chris was immediately in love and had the biggest smile on his face and couldn't stop staring at her. The look of wonder on his face was amazing. He followed her to the warmer where they cleaned her up, and when he tried to come back to me I told him, "No! Go back to her! Don't leave her alone!" Like there weren't 15 nurses around her and something might happen to her if he wasn't there.
Ok, doesn't the cord/belly button transition look weird? It's different than what I thought it would be. I don't know, I guess I expected the cord to be attached right to the belly. Or something.
Best pouty face EVER. She still makes this face.
She definitely had a healthy cry.
Chris got to cut the cord the rest of the way, which was a last minute decision on his part (before he said no way) and I'm so glad he did. When he was cutting it, she started flailing around and he was scared of cutting her, so without thinking he grabbed the other end of the cord to cut it more easily. It was only after he was done that he realized he'd grabbed an umbilical cord. (In answer to the question I know you're asking: rubbery.)
I watched it all from my vantage point on the table as they were stitching me up and couldn't stop smiling. I had no idea what they were doing to me at this point and was only focused on her. However, according to photographic evidence, they were quite busy down there. Don't worry, I won't share those pictures. I think you've already seen enough blood and guts for one post.
After that, they finished cleaning her up and weighed her. All the doctors and nurses were betting on her size. Estimates ranged from 8lbs 12oz to 9lbs 4oz, but one nurse guessed it exactly right: nine pounds on the dot! In other news, I'm kind of surprised at how clean they get the babies just by rubbing them down. I was expecting more gooey-ness.
They wrapped her up and gave her to Chris, and from that point on she was with us the entire time (minus a few minutes for a hearing check the next day). Since my arms weren't strapped down, I was able to semi-hold her and touch her, and even managed to take a few pictures of her and Chris. We had the anesthesiologist take our first family picture. Contrary to the pictures below, she was wide awake and sucking on her fist something furious most of the time. Girl came out wanting a three course meal!
After they finished with me, they all lifted me onto a transport bed (pre-baby it would have taken a team of 20 to do that; post baby it only took 18!). We were taken back to the same recovery room where we started the day. Chris carried the baby as he walked beside the bed. I love that she was in his arms for most of her first hour. In the room, they finished up the baby tests. Unfortunately, she didn't pass her blood glucose screen, which is a test that she got since she was a larger-than-average baby. Because of that, they gave her a bottle of glucose formula. If I'd been more aware or paying more attention, I would have declined it, or requested the chance to breastfeed and then have her re-tested, but it happened so quickly that I didn't get to process it. However, it did mean Chris got to give her a bottle (which she gulped down in record time) and he really loved that. I was so jealous...I still hadn't gotten to hold her. In the second picture, note the nurses engrossed in Judge Judy.
Finally, I got to hold her for the first time was able to nurse her, and despite the bottle she latched right on. It was pure bliss having her cuddle on my chest.
Chris went out to my parents, who were in the waiting room, and filled them in on all the details and shared pictures from her birth. After less than an hour in the recovery room, they transferred us to our post-partum suite. And suite it was for sure...the place was huge! So nice. I might try to book a vacation there sometime. Complete with nurses to take care of my every whim. The transport team once again was called in to get me over to the bed...and then we were on our own with a brand new baby. Well. As "on our own" as you can be with nurses just the touch of a button away.
(These were taken our last day as we were packing up to leave.)
The solitary time lasted about two minutes before my parents came up. Of course, they fell in love with her right away, as I've heard grandparents are prone to doing. (My dad had a pulminary embolism a week or so before she was born, hence the oxygen in the picture.) Around that time, they came in for a second glucose check...which she failed again, by only two points. Bottle number two. Ugh.
Nurses came in to check on both her and I every 15 minutes. At some point they explained the schedule to me, and I don't remember exactly, but it was something like every 15 minutes for the first hour, every half hour for the second, and every hour for a few hours (two? four? ten? I don't remember). Eventually it was just three times a day by the time we left, but it seemed non-stop the first day or so. They also gave her a third glucose check, which she FINALLY passed. She still had to pass two more, though, before they'd consider her in the clear.
Between checks, I spent the time just looking at her and admiring her and taking in every detail.
We still hadn't decided on a name. Everyone loved Carys still, but I just couldn't commit. I knew this was going to be an issue. I can't even decide on a Sonic Blast flavor. BUTTERFINGER OR OREO, THAT IS THE QUESTION. I was also loving the name Eliana (and still do). We wrote both names up on the board and quizzed everyone who entered the room.
Shortly thereafter, we had our first non-parental visitor - my cousin Samar (who was strongly in favor of Eliana, sorry, Samar!). After that, visitors streamed in literally all day.
You aren't allowed to eat or drink for a little while after having surgery, so I was on an ice-chips only diet for a bit. After I was able to keep the ice chips down, they let me have water, and when that was okay, they let me order a meal. FINALLY. It'd been like 12 hours and I was starving. I think I ordered a salad, and I'd never had such a great salad. (And I'm only mostly attributing that to the starvation: the food there was actually really good). A few hours later, the nurses came in to give her a bath. Her first bath! Well. I guess that's not THAT exciting, as everything was a first. Her first breath! Her first time wearing cloths! Her first time being held! Her first time having her temperature taken! Her first time eating!
She loved it (and still loves baths). We have a LOT of pictures of her getting her bath. Like 429. Almost. But it was freaking adorable.
I got out of the first diaper change. SCORE! That's what having two grandmas around gets you! In fact, I didn't have to change a diaper until the very last day when we were checking out. The nurses did it at night, and visitors clamored to do it during the day. The funny thing is, I don't mind changing diapers. I would have happily done it. But I'll take the help!
The visitors continued. We tried to get a picture with her being held by everyone who came up. Since most people reading this won't know any of these people, I won't be offended if you skip this part. It's for my eternal record so I'll never ever forget who to write out of the will because they didn't come see us.
Eventually, everyone left, and it was just us....and this beautiful baby girl.